The instant stardom associated with impressive performances in the IPL has not changed Rashid Khan’s ultimate cricketing dream — to bowl lethal googlies to the best in the world while donning Afghanistan whites. A dream that is expected to soon turn into a reality with ICC set to give green light to Afghanistan’s impending Test status.
“Any cricketer has one ultimate dream. To do well in Test cricket for his country. By the grace of Almighty, we would soon be playing Test cricket. I am just waiting for that day when I will be playing Test cricket for Afghanistan. For me, success in Test cricket will define me as a cricketer,” the soft-spoken Rashid told PTI during an interaction.
Rashid has had a fantastic debut IPL season with 12 wickets for the Sunrisers Hyderabad. A Man-of-the Match award against Kings XI Punjab was like an icing on the cake and every penny of that Rs 4.5 crore deal has been worth it for the Hyderabad franchise.
“It’s been like a dream for me. Playing in the IPL with so many stalwarts. More importantly being able to hold my own and perform for the team. Our coach Tom Moody has been constantly telling me that self belief is key to success. I have always had faith in my abilities and it’s paying off,” the 19-year-old, who has played 26 ODIs and 24 T20 Internationals for his country.
His googly has troubled many batsmen and he mentions three dismissals that has given him immense satisfaction.
Ask him about the best compliment he has received till date, he recollected his skipper David Warner’s advice.
“Warner told me that I will always be a dangerous bowler because of my high-arm action. This is something natural and he believes that it will continue to give me success,” said Rashid.
Afghanistan mainly plays Associate nations in international matches, barring ICC tournament, but Rashid is hopeful that things will soon change.
“Right after IPL, Afghanistan will be playing West Indies in a series. From here, I would be leaving for the Caribbean islands to play a limited overs with three T20 matches. Playing T20 Internationals in Caribbean will be an experience,” he said.
In order to take his game to the next level, Rashid is hopeful that various T20 franchises across the world will be interested in him.
“I haven’t got any offers from any other T20 franchises but hopefully I will be able to play tournaments like Big Bash and Natwest T20 Blast. It will only help me improve my game.” The stardom is yet to sink in but the response he has got from the social media has been tremendous.
“I have not been back home for four months. Musafir ki tarah zindagi hai (Leading a nomadic life). I have been living out of suitcase, playing at Greater Noida (vs Ireland) and then in Zimbabwe and now IPL. People in my country are happy. I get a lot of positive feedback from people of Afghanistan which makes me feel good.”
Rashid won’t give you stories about wars and bullets. He comes from a well-to-do family. That’s why when you ask him about whether he would buy a new house or a swanky car, he laughs while replying.
“Allah ka diya sab kuch hai humare paas. Ghar bhi aur car bhi (By God’s grace I have a house and a car). Once I go back home, I will discuss with my family as to how to utilise the money,” he concluded.